DeForest Buckner has big expectations for himself, 49ers in 2019 season


DeForest Buckner has big expectations for himself, 49ers in 2019 season

After a breakout third season with the 49ers, DeForest Buckner already has set expectations for himself even higher. 

Buckner recorded a career-high 12 sacks, 17 tackles for a loss and 20 quarterback hits in 2018 while establishing himself as a leader on the defense. The 49ers acquired edge rusher Dee Ford in a trade with the Chiefs and drafted Nick Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to bolster the pass rush.

That has Buckner antsy to get the pads on. 

Prior to the six-week break following mandatory minicamp, Buckner spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area about why he couldn’t be more excited about what is to come for the team and himself in the upcoming season.  

“I’m very excited,” Buckner said. “I’m the happiest man on the team. The additions that we have, and the guys that we have already in the room, I mean, it’s going to be unbelievable. 

“We did a really good job in free agency and in the draft this year. Guys are coming back healthy and that was a big break the past couple of years. We had too many injuries.” 

Buckner explained how the added speed on the edge will give an advantage to the interior defensive linemen like himself. 

“Having Dee and Nick on the outside, forcing the quarterback to step up for all the guys we have in the interior, it’s going to be amazing for all of it to come to life. I’m just excited for that first preseason game, just to get that little taste." 

Buckner’s vision for himself still remains simple: improve. 

“Honestly, just to build off of the season I had last year,” Buckner said. “Every year I’m looking to get better. Kris Kocurek, our new d-line coach is helping me with the weaknesses that I have from last year and developing new techniques and new things to my game to improve myself. 

“He’s teaching me in the room, and on the field and I’m implementing it at practice, and I see it actually happening, coming to life. I’m excited to move forward, and for the season." 

[RELATED: Where 49ers' defense ranks compared to NFC West rivals]

With 10 wins since the arrival of head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, Buckner understands the importance of the team turning their record around. While he has expectations for himself, he has not lost sight of the big picture, and the ultimate goal. 

“Winning,” Buckner said. “That’s all I’m looking forward to, just winning. That’s the main thing. It’s a result-driven league and all anybody cares about is winning. That’s what we’re here for and it’s why we compete every day, every Sunday, Monday, Thursday. We’re all competitors and I just want to win this year.

“John and Kyle are doing a great job building the team that they want,” Buckner said. “I’m just excited to see everything come to fruition.”

Eric Reid, Torrey Smith react very differently to 49ers' $1M donation


Eric Reid, Torrey Smith react very differently to 49ers' $1M donation

With protests taking place in numerous cities nationwide, 49ers CEO Jed York announced Saturday night that the team would be making a $1 million donation to local and national organizations seeking social change.

Two former 49ers teammates had different responses to York on Twitter shortly after the announcement was made.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who played for the 49ers in 2015 and 2016, praised York for his commitment to fighting injustices.

York even responded to Smith.

But safety Eric Reid, who was drafted by the 49ers in 2013 and played with the team through the 2017 season, was not a fan of York's donation.

Smith and Reid were teammates on the Carolina Panthers during the 2018 season.

Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led the charge in 2016 to take a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustices plaguing the United States.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract after being told he would be released, and the 49ers didn't re-sign Reid, who would join the Panthers early in the 2018 season.

Smith defended York's handling of Kaepernick's protest, but Reid wasn't having it.

Smith could only agree with what Reid said.

The protests across the nation are in response to recent deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Louisville at the hands of police.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Jed York donates $1M to local, national organizations for change


49ers' Jed York donates $1M to local, national organizations for change

CEO Jed York announced Saturday night the 49ers will be donating $1 million to local and national organizations committed to social change.

In September 2016, the 49ers made a $1 million donation, matching the commitment of the-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, to two Bay Area charities that address social issues in collaboration with law enforcement.

Along with the organization's latest donation, York also committed support for the Players Coalition, which was co-founded in 2017 by Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins. The coalition’s goal is to make an impact on social justice and racial equality at the federal, state and local levels through advocacy, awareness, education and allocation of resources.

York’s announcement comes as protests take place across the nation. George Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by Minneapolis police on Monday. Video later surfaced that showed an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he told officers he was struggling to breathe.

“People throughout our country are hurting,” York wrote in a statement. “Emotions are raw, and rightfully so. Heinous acts have been committed in recent weeks. Before we are able to realize impactful change, we just first have the courage and compassion as human beings to come together and acknowledge the problem: black men, women, children and other oppressed minorities continue to be systemically discriminated against.

“The 49ers organization is committing to support the legislative priorities of the Players Coalition and to donating $1 million dollars to local and national organizations who are creating change.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]